Welcome to the IGO Watch Newsletter for May!
This has been a busy month for the IGO Watch team, and we have exciting news from the 7th ALS Friedman Conference, which was combined with the 17th World Taxpayers Associations Conference, and was organized by IGOWatch partners the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance in Sydney from the 23-27 May. This conference specifically hosted an IGO Watch panel, which focused on how large international governmental organizations undermine democracy and accountability. This panel was a great hit among the attendees, and we are delighted by the support we received, the new connections we made, and the new organizations that decided to partner with us as a result. We are sure that IGO Watch is only going to continue to grow, and we are determined to keep fighting for transparency and accountability!
A Wrong Choice
The EU Parliament election results came as no surprise, as green and populist initiatives were marked as clear winners. This comes as a result of an election campaign which put an emphasis on topics such as environmental activism and worries over climate change throughout the EU. Unfortunately, the idea of spending even more ludicrous amounts of EU money on climate issues is now slowly starting to become a reality, as 8 EU countries called for at least 25% of the EU budget to be dedicated to projects aimed at fighting against “climate change”. But, that was not the only ludicrous thing we have heard from EU officials last month, as the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, called for a bloc-wide minimum wage as Brussels seeked further central control over its member states.
But despite the election dominating media coverage, the EU engaged in other activities this last month that should concern taxpayers:
- The European Union continued to meddle in the way private companies develop and implement their services, reprimanding tech giants Google, Facebook, and Twitter for not doing enough to tackle “fake news”.
- More reports have come out which have shown that the EU’s stance on farming with GMO crops is an untenable mess. The current EU rules, which embrace both de facto bans and mandatory labeling of foods containing GMO ingredients, are backward and hinder agricultural innovation.
We have reported time and time again about the flagrant misuse of taxpayer dollars to fund the lavish jet setting lifestyle of World Health Organization (WHO) officials in the past, and sadly, it looks like nothing has changed. According to the recent WHO annual report, their 2018 annual travel bill came in almost $200 million – a staggering amount, and far more than the WHO spends on its core task of fighting illnesses. This is an absolute disgrace and an absolutely immoral waste of taxpayer funds, and given how nothing has changed – despite years of promises – we sadly can have no confidence in anything the WHO leadership pledges about change – which is exactly why IGOWatch will continue to be vigilant and keep taxpayers aware of these issues.
But the waste of taxpayer funds on first-class travel is not the only news coming out of the WHO. The WHO has decided to attack life-saving researchers and innovators in a misguided call for price control. Not only did the WHO attack the very companies that research and develop life-saving pharmaceuticals, but its reports made basic errors. For example, The WHO claimed it cost $794 million to bring a drug to market, but this estimate completely forgot about the high rate of research failures – a mistake a college freshman would not have made. Instead of promoting price controls that deter research, the WHO should bolster innovation and boost access to lifesaving drugs.
Finally, one of the issues that were scheduled to be discussed during the 72nd session of the World Health Assembly was the inclusion of new diagnostic codes. The WHO uses a list of diagnostic codes to track the incidence and prevalence of health issues around the world. This would be fine, except that the current schedule contains codes for spacecraft injuries and hot tub-related bacterial infections, but neglects far more serious issues such as human trafficking?!
Climate change was a hot topic among the UN officials this month, as well. We think it is a bit ironic that the head of the United Nations talks about the misuse of taxpayers’ funds, having in mind the vast number of scandals, money wasting and complete lack of transparency within his own organization.
Just this month, the head of the UNAIDS agency created to eradicate the AIDS crisis resigned, five months after his leadership was impugned in a damning report about workplace sexual harassment and bullying.
But that’s not all: the United Nations Human Rights Council was up to their usual shenanigans this month, with three countries with atrocious human rights records, Brunei, North Korea, and Qatar, receiving widespread praise for their human rights efforts, notwithstanding that their nations engage in torture, forced labor camps, public execution, violence against children and women, and criminalization of homosexuality.
Finally, Ross Marchand, Director of Policy at the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, explained in a new article how the proposed restrictive UN and EU regulations against silicone could raise prices on everything from bandages to airbags and have no scientific justification whatsoever!
See something? Say something!
We’re always looking for regional coordinators from countries around the world to help us distribute information on social media, write blog posts and op-eds, and provide us with on-the-ground information from their region.
If you have any tips about stories, or would like to become a regional coordinator, please send us an email at this address!
Until next month,
IGO Watch Team